Self-image and selected clinical variables in the context of childhood abuse in subjects with alcohol dependence


Objective: The objective of the study was to determine the differences in selected clinical variables and self-image in people with alcohol dependence differing in severity of physical, emotional and sexual abuse experienced before age 18.

Method: The study included 90 people with alcohol dependence. The following research tools were used: Early Trauma Inventory (ETI), Adjective Check List (ACL), MAST, SAAD, and a questionnaire designed by the authors. In order to identify groups with varying indices of physical, emotional and sexual childhood abuse, a cluster analysis method was used.

Results: Two groups of subjects with alcohol dependence were identified: Group 1 with high indices of physical, emotional and sexual childhood abuse and Group 2 with low indices. In terms of self-image the subjects in Group 1 compared to subjects in Group 2 were characterized by a lower self-esteem, self-acceptance, resistance to stress, less intense needs for achievement, endurance, order, nurturing others, interaction with opposite-sex partners, subordinations but more intense need for change. The age of alcohol use initiation and the onset of regular alcohol drinking was statistically significantly lower in Group 1. The severity of alcohol dependence was significantly lower in Group 2. The subjects in Group 1 significantly more frequently confirmed the history of a hereditary predisposition to alcohol dependence, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and self-harm.

Discussion: The obtained results closely correspond to the data available in the literature.

Conclusions: An assessment of exposure to various forms of childhood abuse appears to be an indispensable element of collecting medical history of people with alcohol dependence.

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